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The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell

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Russia 35, Texas 13, Crimea 13, Wendy Davis 10, Greg Abbott 7, Clinton 5, Vladimir Putin 5, Angela Merkel 5, Chris Christie 4, John Kerry 4, Ted Nugent 4, United States 4, Us 4, Europe 4, U.s. 4, Merkel 3, Iran 3, Kerry 3, Charles Kupchan 3, Moscow 3,
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  MSNBC    The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  

    March 4, 2014
    7:00 - 8:01pm PST  

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go? that has been an elusive question for much of the last decade. now we think we had an answer. "why we did it" premiers thursday at 9:00 eastern piem goi. i'm going to be talking about it on "the daily show" as well. i think what we found is really important. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. have a great night. >> wendy davis just delivered her victory speech in the texas primary. we will bring that to you later. but first, world leaders are wondering if angela merkel is right and that vladimir putin has lost touched with reality. and hillary clinton just made her first public comments about the crisis in ukraine. >> major developments today in the volatile crisis in ukraine. >> russian troops amass in crimea. >> vladimir putin denies they're even russian. >> it was a bit of a rambling press conference to be honest.
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>> he really denied there were troops in crimea? >> what russia did was wrong and i will not sit here and apologize or defend military aggression. >> so, you know, what are the real options? >> there is little appetite in the u.s. or europe to get involved militarily. >> is there an exit ramp approaching? >> providing this off ramp. >> this morning, secretary of state john kerry arrived. >> kerry's arrival coin sides with a proposed pact -- >> will europe go along with the united states to make it truly effective? >> there's not a clear black and white. >> that's because europe and the u.s. aren't entirely on the same page. >> merkel basically questioned putin's state of mind. >> he is living in a different world and the europeans understand that. >> there is a strong belief that russia's action is violating international law.
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>> in a press conference today, vladimir putin said i am certain that the ukrainian military and the russian military will not be facing each other. they will be on the same side in a fight. but hours before he said that, russian troops outside a ukrainian base fired warning shots at unarmed ukrainian soldiers who were marching towards them. according to vladimir putin, those were not russian troops, but, as he put it, quote, local defense units. putin continued to deny that russian troops have invaded ukraine. putin had this to say about what he called the united states meddling in the region. i sometimes have an impression that there's some laboratory in the u.s. where they conduct experiments using these countries as rats, and they do not understand the consequences. president obama said this about vladimir putin today. >> there have been some reports
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that president putin is pausing for a moment and reflecting on what's happened. i think that we've all seen that from the perspective of the european union, the united states, allies like canada and japan and allies and friends and partners around the world, there is a strong belief that russia's action is violating international law. i know president putin seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations, but i don't think that's fooling anybody. i think everybody recognizes that although russia has legitimate interests in what happens in a neighboring state, that does not give it the right to use force as a means of exerting influence inside of that state. >> secretary of state john kerry was in ukraine's capital city of
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kiev today where he announced the united states is offering ukraine an assistance package that includes a $1 billion loan to help with recovery and its upcoming elections. john kerry continued to be the administration's tough talker about the russian government. >> the contrast really could not be clearer. determined ukrainians demonstrating strength through unity, and the russian government out of excuses, hiding its hand behind falsehoods, intimidation and provocations. in the hearts of ukrainians and the eyes of the world, there is nothing strong about what russia is doing. if russia does not choose to deescalate, if it is not willing to work directly with the government of ukraine as we hope they will be, then our farners
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will have absolutely no choice but to join us to continue to expand upon steps we have taken in recent days in order to isolate russia politically, diplomatically, and economically. i would emphasize to the leaders of russia, this is not something we are seeking to do. this is something russia's choices may force us to do. >> secretary kerry was absolutely visibly shocked today to discover from our own andrea mitchell in kiev that vladimir putin was denying that russian troops have entered the country. >> he denied that there were any russian troops in crimea, occupying crimea. he blamed the crisis on united states interference. >> he really denied there were troops in crimea? >> yes, he did. >> tonight, senior administration official announced the u.s. will not attend the g-8 summit in sochi in june unless russia changes
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course. at his press conference, when asked about the g-8, vladimir putin said as for the g-8, i do not know. we will be ready to host the summit with our colleagues. if they do not want to come, so be it. joining me now, william taylor, the former ambassador to ukraine under both president george wmt bush and president obama. and charles cupchin, senior fellow at the council on foreign relations. ambassador taylor, given everything we've picked up today, including possibly most importantly vladimir putin's press conference, where do you see the state of the crisis tonight? >> well, we can look for one of two options. one, the first scenario would be that the russians decide that they will sit down with the ukrainians, they'll have a discussion on how to structure the process going forward. the alternate scenario is the
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russians send froops in across the eastern border of crew yukr. >> ambassador, i have to ask you about john kerry's presence there today. it seems with him in kiev, it would be inconceivable that the russians would make a move while secretary of state is actually in the country. is it a wise idea to continue to send high-levelled a min offici -- administration officials to be in some ways resistance shields to what vladimir putin might do next? >> well, the main reason, of course, secretary kerry is there is to demonstrate support for this new government in kiev. this new government has an interim president designated by the parliament. it has a prime minister. secretary kerry is there to have conversations with them and to demonstrate that we are fully
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supportive of this government. >> charles, today vladimir putin denied the legitimacy of the government in ukraine saying that there is no one -- no counterpart there for him to deal with. >> well, you know, i think this was just another cynical and pretty hypocrite call defense of a land grab in the crimea peninsula. to the degree that there was a coherent argument in putin's press conference it's that yanukovych left power unconstitutionally. he was thrown out. but to have vladimir putin defending the rule of law in ukraine, calling for the restoration on constitutional rounds of yanukovych really goes right into the face of the fact that putin does not abide by the rule of law at home. if he's so concerned about coups, why didn't he go to egypt when the egyptian military toppled mohammad morsi.
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what happened, this popular revolution was a serious blow to russia, to putin, the idea of building a union with ukraine as a junior partner. he's lashing out to grab what he can. it has nothing to do with his belief in the principle of the rule of law or the illegitimacy of the ukrainian government. >> we have an incomplete early report of what hillary clinton said tonight in california at a fundraiser actually about ukraine. and she is reported to have said, to have drawn a comparison between russia's decision to issue passports in the crimean region to the population transfers that were carried out by nazi germany before world war ii, ambassador, this is former secretary clinton's first public comment on the matter. i want to be fair to her. i think we need a much larger context for what she's actually
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said tonight that we don't yet have. but what do you -- what more would you anticipate hearing from secretary clinton about this? >> secretary clinton cares very much about ukraine. she spent time there. people around her know the country very well. i would imagine she would be a very strong supporter of this new government, and i would imagine she would be a very strong critic of the hypocrisy being shown by president putin. >> we've had some talk on this program and elsewhere about the chess board with russia, and the very -- the different interests we have with russia from syria to iran to ukraine, and moving one piece on the chess board has to keep in mind the others. chess, having been used so often in this model, one of the great russian chess players tweeted today about this. less than putin's skill, it's that he is not playing by the
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rules of the free world. the rules the free world feels obliged to follow. so again, not like chess at all. charles kupchan, not like chess at all because vladimir putin observes no rules. >> that's exactly right. he's playing by his own rules. he is engaging in behavior that's really beyond the bounds. at the same time, we have to figure out how to respond to this in a way that's resolution, that says this is unacceptable, but not in a way that jeopardizes other american interests, some of which, frankly, are more important, more immediate than that of the crimean peninsula. they include getting out of afghanistan without the country falling apart. they include shutting down iran's nuclear program, they include the civil war in sere yam which could lead to a broader conflagration in the middle east. russia is a player in all of those. even though i'm very supportive
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of the need to respond to what's happened, we do have to look at that wider picture and say what can we do with russia. how can we make it clear that what they've done is unacceptable. without, at the same time, hurting ourselves by making it more difficult to obtain what we want on these other issues. >> if you were still serving in ukraine, what would you be urging the president to do at this point, which the administration is not very doing? >> first of all, i would say that the issue of ukraine is very important to us. it's not entirely clear to me what the russians are doing that benefits us in the iran discussions. or in syria. i would say that in those two, we should not be hesitant to support the ukrainians. in thinking about iran and syria.
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in doing more, i would say they need to -- the administration actually needs to take the actions that they have talked about, that they have promised. go from g-8 to g-7. there's no reason for russians to be in the g-8. impose the sanctions that they've talked about. the personal sanctions on the people who have made decisions that violate international law, and the broader sanctions that have been effective over time in iran and then south africa. >> charles kupchan, quickly before we go, any chance of getting other members of the g-8 to go along with expelling russia? >> i think the answer to that depends on what happens in the coming days. if putin backs off, and he has told those troops that were exercising in the south to go back to their barracks. f he looks to be ready to talk about the disposition in crimea, if he looks ready to leave the rest of ukraine alone, then i think it's going to be difficult about getting a united front kicking
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russia out of the g-8. if he ramps it up, gets more provocative, he starts messing around in eastern ukraine, then i think he'll get a pretty strong united front in favor of what ambassador taylor was just talking about, which is an escalating set of sanctions against this act of aggression. >> well, let's still denying those are russian troops that he might have to order back to their bar racks. so it seems like we're a few steps away from that. former ambassador william taylor and charles kupchan. thank you very much for your time on this important story. >> thank you. coming up, what are the russian people thinking about the situation in ukraine? and how do we find out what the russian people are really thinking? where the dissent is, how much dissent is there? that's coming up. and later, an expert on machine politics will analyze the putin machine. and in "the rewrite" my answer and only my answer to the
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question, has vladimir putin lost touch with reality? angela merkel says he has. madeleine albright says he's delusional. i think there might be a simpler explanation. people don't have to think about where their electricity comes from. they flip the switch-- and the light comes on. it's our job to make sure that it does. using natural gas this power plant can produce enough energy for about 600,000 homes. generating electricity that's cleaner
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>> what does dissent in russia look like these days? we're going to show you a coup of examples of that next. and we'll include the example of that anchorwoman in russia who said she objects to the invasion of crimea. vo: once upon a time there was a boy who traveled to a faraway place
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>> look what happens to a simple political blogger who investigates government corruption. meet alexi novali. he was four hours late to our interview because he was interviewed by the russian investigation service. >> i'm barred from running for any political office and i've been arrested many times for agonizing anti-government. >> why do you do it? >> if you look at putin -- and then our mikes cut out. seriously this really happened. . >> bugs in the office makes this problem. we find bugs and video cameras in my office. they took this box and send it to the fsb for their expertise. so box returns to the guys who are place it.
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>> that was "the daily show's" final report from sochi one week ago. last night on russian television, there was this startling moment on this english network that many western observers said was a rare moment of dissent in russian media. >> before we wrap up the show i wanted to say something from my heart about the ongoing political crisis in ukraine. just because i work here for rt doesn't mean i don't have editorial independence. i can't stress enough how strongly i am against any state intervention in a sovereign nation's affairs. what russia did is wrong. i admittedly don't know as much as i do about ukraine's history but what i do know is military intervention is never the answer. and i will not sit here and apologize or defend military aggression. furthermore, the coverage i've seen in ukraine has been truly disappointing from all sides of the media spectrum. above all, many i heart goes out to the ukrainian people who are now wedged as pawns in the
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middle of a global power chess game. they're the real losers here. all we can do now is hope for a peaceful outcome for a terrible situation and prevent another full blown cold war between multiple superpowers. >> that kremlin-funded network responded with this statement -- contrary to the popular opinion, rt doesn't beat its journalists into submission and they are free to express their own opinions, not just in private but on the air. this is the case with abby's commentary on the ukraine. we respect her views and the views of all the journalists, presenters and program hosts and there will be absolutely no reprimands made against ms. martin in her comment ms. martin also noted that she does not possess deep knowledge of reality of the situation in crimea. as such, we'll be sending her crimea to give her an opportunity to make up her own mind from the epicenter of the story. joining me now, a fellow at the foreign policy initiative a
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correspondent and the foreign editor for buzz feed. she lived in russia for seven years, a moscow correspondent for "the guardian." james, you had a famous run-in on rt-tv a while ago which brought you to this program the first time. i really want to get your reaction to what abby martin had to say. >> i think this was managed or controlled dissent. there are real democrats and oppositions in russia. those people tend to be beaten up and thrown into jail. then you have the official or puppet opposition. they're paid and sponsored by the kremlin. that's who abby martin is. she cashes checks from vladimir putin. she spends 60 seconds voicing her disagreement on russian behavior in ukraine that doesn't counter what she does every day on her show, which is spout kremlin propaganda. this woman, we need to be clear,
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is an out and out lunatic. she's a conspiracy theorist. she's a 9/11 truther. she thinks that water fluoridation is a government conspiracy. she compared israel to nazi germany. to portray her raz a brave truth-telling hero is really inaccurate. and rt is going to be able to hold up and dangle this little moment of pseudodissent and say look, we're a legitimate news network. we have differing points of view. that's really not the case. >> and abby martin tweeted today after her network said she was going to the epicenter, abby martin sweeted, i am not going tocrimea, despite the statement that was made. >> just to clarify in rt, it's not actually seen in russia. isn't this for foreign -- it's a russian network news production in the english language for
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foreign consumption. so no one in russia saw her do that. if you're in the kremlin, that's where you want the dissent to be on tv where no one in russia can see. >> exactly. if you look at the way the russian government controls the media, it's really easy to understand this move as being honest or not honest. russia canceled its live streaming of the oscars the other night at the last minute, and it's understood from the journalists because they were scared of things like jared leto did, speak up for protesters in ukraine. and when it was aired the other day, they cut it out. to think this explosion of dissent came out of nowhere is a little hard to believe. >> james, you spent time there, what is your sense about how we could now get at what's going on within the russian population? what are they consuming by way of information about this? how much dissent is there to that information that they're
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consuming. do we have -- do we run polls there regularly? i mean, if this kind of situation was happening in the united states, there would be a new york times poll by now indicating, you know, what we feel about happening in our neighboring country. how do we get at what's going on there? inside russia. >> i don't doubt that most russians probably support what the government is doing right now. but you have to understand, practically all of the paid yeah, television where most russians get their news is state controlled. the really own independent news sources, maybe a handful of newspapers, independent websites, radio free europe, radio liberty, the bbc. but the penetration of those sorts of media is not very high. so unfortunately, it's very difficult for the average russian to really understand what's going on in their world because they're basically getting in russian what you see on rt, which is basically lies and propaganda. >> but what about internet access for the kind of alert dissenters who know where to look around the world for other sources of information? >> it's incredibly lively. and i think that jamie is right,
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when it comes to the older population in russia who does get most of their news from state-controlled television, but kids there on the internet all the time. and if you look at the main discussions on twitter on facebook, on the russian version of facebook, it's incredibly lively. there's tons of dissent, and fear is really owned by the dissenters and i think a really interesting thing now is going to be what the kremlin does with the internet precisely to clamp down on that kind of dissent. >> do you -- would you anticipate that dissent could bubble up to the level on this that we might see some kind of external protests in moscow or elsewhere? >> i believe there were -- or there was a small protest with a couple hundred people protesting the action, which brought back member mems of 1968 when russians bravely protested the invasion of czechoslovakia. and like then, this protest was broken up, people were beaten and carded off to jail.
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and there have been much bigger protests in recent russian history with tens of thousands of people that were also broken up in such a way. so it's certainly possible. there obviously are russians who are brave enough to go out and withstand the police forces. we in the west need to do everything we can to stand with them. s . >> miriam, if you listened to putin's press conference today, he said a lot of perfectly reasonable sounding things, if you're a russian with very limited news access would sound very reason to believe you. that this was a violent overthrow of a government, they violated the constitution of ukraine, there is no leader there for him to deal with. the thing that sounded most fanciful and was probably hard far lot of people is no, those aren't russian troops. they're just local people. but most of it, he said, you know, yanukovych did a bad job, wouldn't get re-elected. there's plenty of what he was saying, i want to be fair to the
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russian people consuming this in that controlled news environment, we're not saying that if you're buying the putin view of this, you know, that that's just -- you're just being dumb. i mean, there's a lot of ways in which he presents this that can sound reasonable if you hear nothing else. >> absolutely. and this has been one of the most amazing things of the putin project since he's come to power. he's created this kind of alternate reality. at first he did it domestically. when you're in russia, it's incredibly. the talk of democracy, the posters on the streets, the people out at also ryes, the lines at election booths. these are things that the kremlin orchestrates very, very carefully. this is the first time he's moved beyond his borders to do it there. so this is a very controlled campaign. it's a theatre. >> james welcome back to the show. thanks for joining us again. coming up, vladimir putin's
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>> in the spotlight tonight, putin's political machine. on rueters.com, this group of burly motorcyclists who see themselves as road warriors, fighting for the greater glory
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of mother russia. they're known as the night wolves and putin himself has ridden with them on that icon of american wanderlust, a harley davidson, even as russia was preparing to send troops to crimea to claim the peninsula from ukraine's new government. the night wolves announced that they would ride to the troubled region to whip up support for their powerful brother and harley devotee. joining me now is the author of "machine made" tammany hall and the making of modern politics. i love this book. somewhere, i think, we have the picture of putin on the harleys with the guys who are riding the harleys into ukraine as we speak. we have seen in our own history,
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our own politics. in this book we see violence used as a political tool. this is something that -- a period this country went through right here in new york with violence. >> absolutely. tammany hall was in some cases a political gang itself in the early 19th century. and it was a reaction to gangs that were anti-irish, anti-catholic that invaded catholic neighborhoods on election day. and tammany often responded in kind. it went to the gangs of new york to recruit people like richard croaker, who was one of the more famous tammany bosses, as well as boss tweed who really became a neighborhood celebrity as a result of being a fire chief and a gang leader. >> and the score sasese movie " gangs of new york" had only of these characters in there. when you say tammany hall now, i think, the word association is corruption and maybe there's not
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any other word that's associated with it in the modern mind. tammany hall was corruption. it was thuggery. it was all sorts of stuff. what else was it that people should know about it that they forget? >> it was about social reform. tammany was about minimum wage, making live easier for immigrants. tammany hall was a voice for the voiceless. it was a friend for the friendless. and that part of tammany's history which was so important in understanding how immigrants became americans, how the working poor took a step up the ladder, that's tammany's story. >> tammany hall wanted power, they wanted power and they believed in a democracy, the way for them to hold that power is to serve that population that is providing the majority of votes. and that was an underclass that was providing those votes. >> that's right. tammany represented the butcher, the bark, the candlestick maker. the lee et, the republicans, the
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wigs, generally were the civic elites. they were the rich people who had stuff. tammany represented the people who not only wanled stu edonly needed stuff. >> and tlerp builders. monuments of public works that wouldn't be here without them. >> the george washington bridge, which you may have heard. >> funny you brought that up. now, on bridgegate you recently wrote about chris christie and bridgegate, chris christie the amateur is the title. it appears to be not an aberration, but merely an ugly example of a method of operation that utilized all the brute force of the political machine and none of its finesse. so it looked like the christie gang was -- they thought they were caught in tammany hall, but they didn't understand the finesse part. >> exactly. they were amateurs. you pointed out on the show several times. for example, when the christie team released that ridiculous
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press release that attacked wildstein's high school record and such. i remember you sort of said who are these people? and that's precisely the question that should be asked. the thing is, chris christie, and others in american politics have sought to demonize politics. they prosecuted politics. they've looked upon our fellow politicians, not as colleagues, but as people sho should be on a perp walk. when you start looking at politics that way, when you look at the person opposite of you as a prospective felon, things don't happen. and when you refuse to compromise, when you refuse to cut a back room deal and you know what, i respect back room deals. that's how democracy gets done. but when you claim to be above that, you're not going to be very effective. one of the characters in my book, ed flynn, who was very close to franklin roosevelt and was sort of raised by tammany. he had a word for people and it was the worst word you could possibly use -- amateur. >> it would have been an amateur that would have walked into
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tammany hall that said hey, i have a plan to get back at this mayor. it involves hurting the voers and leaving them stuck in traffic for hours and end. there's no one at tammany hall that wouldn't have said you're absolutely crazy. >> if you're going to create a scandal, make sure it's a scandal people don't understand. and people understand traffic jams. >> the important book is called "machine made -- tammany hall and the creation of modern politics. it takes us all the way to the presidency of fdr. you will not understand fdr. you don't know where the minimum wage came frf without understanding tammany hall. thank you very much for writing this book and joining us to night. >> thank you. coming up in "the rewrite" some european leaders are very worried about vladimir putin. they think he's in his own world. madelieine albright thinks he's delusional. i actually thit lly think it's
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staples. make more happen. >> in tonight's "rewrite" mind of vladimir putin. german chancellor angela merkel got the speculation about putin's mental state started, when "the new york times" reported her telling president obama by telephone that after she spoke with putin, she con seclude e concolluded that he is, quote, in another world. the "times" reporter briefed on the call said merkel is not sure if putin is in touch with reality. experienced kremlin and putin one ha watchers began to chime in. >> i agree with what angela merkel said, that he's living in
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some other world. i think that either he does not have the facts, he is being fed propaganda, or his own propaganda, it doesn't make any sense. there are no calls for assistance. there is not this kind of a crisis in terms of the way that the russian-speaking people are in some way being harmed. and so this is all made up. and i think it's part of a much longer-term plan that putin has had, which is to try to recreate some form of relationship between ukraine and moscow. i think that is the tragedy that's going on. putin is in my ways, i think, delusional about this. >> at the united nations, samantha power followed in a long tradition of american u.n. ambassadors telling their soviet and now russian counterparts that they are inventing their own facts. >> so many of the assertions made this afternoon by the russian federation are without
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basis in reality. let's begin with a clear and candid assessment of the facts. it is a fact that russian military forces have taken over ukrainian border posts. it is a fact that russia has taken over the ferry terminal. it is a fact that russian ships are moving in. it's a fact that russian forces are blocking mobile telephone services in some areas. it is a fact that russia has surrounded or taken over practically all ukrainian military facilities in crimea. it is a fact that today russian jets entered ukrainian air space. it's also a fact that independent journalists continue to report that there is no evidence of violence against russian or pro russian communities. >> then came vladimir putin's press conference today in which he said some very reasonable-sounding things. for example, he says that he told ukrainian president viktor yanukovych that he had no
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chance of being re-elected. but he also said in that press conference that the sharp drop in the value of the ruble had nothing to do with the events in ukraine and were entirely the fault of what else, the federal reserve. yes, our federal reserve. the russian central bank was then forced to spend about $20 billion to support the currency and they instantly raised interest rates by 1.5 percentage points. putin's most untethered moment in that press conference was, of course, when he was asked about the russian soldiers who have invaded crimea. question, mr. president, clarification, if i may. the people who were blocking the ukrainian army units in crimea were wearing uniforms that strongly resembled the russian army uniform. were those russian soldier?
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russian military? >> vladimir putin, why don't you take a look at the post soviet states. there are many uniforms there that are similar. you can go to a store and by any kind of uniform. >> were they russian soldiers or not. vladimir putin, those were local self-defense units. now, if putin said that to angela merkel in a way that left merkel believes that he believes th that, then she is, of course, absolutely right, that putin is in another world. but as of tonight, i for one am prepared to give vladimir putin the benefit of the doubt on this. i see no reason on the face of the evidence as of now to reach the conclusion, or should we say, the diagnosis that putin is delusional. it seems more likely that he is simply employing that tactic that most politicians here and around the world employ every
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day to varying degrees. putin is simply lying. when putin talks about his soldiers that he sent into ukraine being local self-defense units, he's just lying. how is that statistically different style liistically different than chris christie trying to use a nonexistent traffic study? i'm not equating the government of new jersey and the government of russia. the new jersey scandals are completely unimportant, nothing when juxtaposed to the most important story in the world tonight, which is what is happening in ukraine temperature but we should be able to see that politicians from trenton moscow and everywhere else around the world use identical techniques in defending themselves. they reach for and use, without
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blinking, invented facts. for civilians, that could get you diagnosed as delusional, but for politicians, for most of them, it's the life they've chosen. i can download anything i want. [ girl ] seriously? that's a lot of music. seriously. that's insane. and it's 15 bucks a month for the family. seriously? that's a lot of gold rope. seriously, that's a signature look. you don't have a signature look, honey. ♪ that's a signature look. [ male announcer ] only at&t brings you beats music. unlimited downloads for up to 5 accounts and 10 devices all for $14.99 a month. ♪
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>> thank you all so very, very much. it's wonder to feel look out and see all your faces. and when i look at you, i know in my heart that we're going to do this. in calling the race for me tonight, i've become only the second female gubernatorial candidate zens anne richards. >> joining me now at the texas election anchor desk, krystal ball, big win for wendy davis. 34% reporting, she has 77% of the vote against her challenger. >> yeah. this result was no the really in doubt, but still it was a chance for her to get her sea legs. she made a couple of criticisms
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about her bio not being completely accurate. but it's a tough, uphill battle but she's giving democrats in the state of texas a lot of hope that they haven't had in quite a long time. >> the republican nominee to no surprise is greg abbott. he won his easily. and so the fight is on. we have our nominees. '. >> absolute pli. one of the fast nating things in the last couple of days, greg abbott cement months with the birth enand secessionist wings of the party, or as we call them moderates here in texas. but it's very interesting. the last few day, he's done something which suggests a slight movement towards general election. he's show casing his wife, who is a latina. he put a commercial up appealing
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to hispanic votes. and he has after voting today here in austin, come out and said i am a multiculturist. that's something that you would never hear someone like that say before. >> we're in general election mode right now, moving twads, if not moderate voter, at least moderately conservative voters. >> let's hear more about what wendy davis had to say tonight. >> greg abbott, he wants to dictate for all women, including victims of rape or incest the decisions that they should make. i will fight for the future of texas. greg abbott is a defender of the status quo. >> she's running, the last pole we have here is from february 17, greg abbott 47, wendy davis at 36. greg abbott being below 50, she as 36. that's within striking distance. there's a real possible campaign there.
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i want to show an ad wendy davis has about ted nugent. and we haven't polled in texas since the ted nugent episodes and this ad. so let's look at this. >> my name is nicole. i'm 34 years old and i'm a rape survivor. >> i'm speaking out because it really bothered me for greg abbott to partner with ted nugent knowing his history of being a predator. i think that it sends the wrong message. that he partners up with this man who is very vocal about liking underaged girls. there's something wrong with that. it's not okay. >> what is the effect of that in texas? >> let me tell you, it has real potential effect. wendy davis has to do two things.
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it's an uphill battle for per. she has to appeal to hispanic voters to turn out in numbers larger than they have. she's also got to appeal to women, moderate suburban women, republican leading women. the kind of women in 1990 voted for anne richards. 61% of the women in that year voted for richards. wendy davis has to do, and this unforced error of putting ted nugent on the stage, exactly what this commercial said, is the kind of thing that wendy davis' campaign will be reminding voters of, especially these moderate women voters between now and november. >> steve stockman who was courageously testing whether or not there was such a thing as too crazy and out there for a republican primary in texas has shown that, in fact, he is too nutty for even the republican
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primary electric rat in texas. this is the guy who had a campaign bumper sticker saying something like if babies had guns then they wouldn't be aborted. he may literally be the good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. and at this hour, tensions remain extremely high in ukraine. russian soldiers continue to blockade and occupy ukrainian military